Topics: Departure from Australia of Mr Novak Djokovic.
DAVID KOCH: Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews. Minister, thanks for joining us. Overnight, the Serbian President accused Australia of lying and humiliating itself over the Djokovic deportation. What’s your response to that?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, good morning Koshie. Look, it’s entirely expected that the Serbian President would be doing all that he can to look after the best interests of Serbia, just like our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, is doing all he can, in conjunction with his Ministers, to make sure we are acting in the best interests of Australia.
DAVID KOCH: Okay, but does he have a point though? That we’ve sort of embarrassed ourselves? Because the process has been incredibly messy; if he wasn’t jabbed and we knew he wasn’t jabbed, he just shouldn’t have been let in the first place. It’s easy.
KAREN ANDREWS: At all times, the Government has acted in the best interest of Australians. I understand that there is a level of confusion out there in relation to issues that go towards visa application processes but let me be clear; applying for a visa and being granted a visa does not automatically give you the right to enter Australia. You also have to meet the entry requirements that apply at that time. I don’t have any concerns with the process that was undertaken in terms of assessing the application for a visa. But we also have in place a number of entry requirements. So anyone who is coming into Australia firstly has to have their valid visa, but then they also have to meet the entry requirements, and that was the issue in the first instance.
DAVID KOCH: Okay, but you caused the confusion. You knew he wasn’t vaxed. Why did you even consider letting him in and giving him an exemption? An exemption actually got through; was approved.
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, the Federal Government did not give a medical exemption, and an exemption to play tennis in Victoria is not-
DAVID KOCH: Who did?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well that process was undertaken by Tennis Australia, and I understand the Victorian government to a point but-
DAVID KOCH: So, is it their fault?
KAREN ANDREWS: I don’t think that it’s helpful at this point to go down a path of whose fault it was. But let me be clear, the Australian Government did not give an exemption on medical grounds to come into this country, not at all.
DAVID KOCH: Okay. But he lied on his form. Didn’t he? Coming in?
KAREN ANDREWS: Look, there were a number of issues that got played out in the media post him coming into the country. I’m not going to make any comments on that. It’s been widely reported what some of those issues are, but at all times, we have always been strong and our border policies and because of that strong action we do have very high vaccination rates here in Australia. We have gone through a very strong economic recovery so there are some things that are very important and border protection is sitting at the top.
DAVID KOCH: Are you concerned you’ve turned him into an anti-vaxxer martyr?
KAREN ANDREWS: My concern was to make sure that we were protecting our borders so I think it’s now time for us to say ‘well the decision that was made by Minister Hawke was upheld by the full Federal Court and Mr. Djokovic has now left the country. Let’s focus on the fact that we have strong borders but importantly let’s all focus on the Australian Open.’
DAVID KOCH: Just quickly will you ever allow him back in? Is he banned for a particular amount of time?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, the three-year ban does apply and it will be in place but it can be dealt with at some stage in the future, but that’s very hypothetical and a long way off.
DAVID KOCH: Okay, so banned for three years. Minister, thanks for joining us.